Monday, 13 July 2015

84 Charing Cross Road

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Published by Virago
1st September 1982
Paperback Edition

This book is the very simple story of the love affair between Miss Helene Hanff of New York and Messrs Marks and Co, sellers of rare and secondhand books, at 84 Charing Cross Road, London.

Told in a series of letters in 84 Charing Cross Road and then in diary form in the second part The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, this true story has touched the hearts of thousands.

I love it when a book leads you down a path to discover new titles and reads that you had never heard of before.  That is what happened here, I discovered 84 Charing Cross Road through reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend as it is one of the books featured in that story.  I have to admit, I'd never heard of the book before, and when I mentioned it on instagram, I was amazed how many people already loved it.  I ordered it promptly!

Set in 1949, 84 Charing Cross Road is a series of letters between American Helene Hanff and Frank Doel who works in Marks and Co, a second hand bookshop in London.  Having discovered the bookshop via an advert in the Saturday Review for Literature, she decided to write to them as she was having trouble finding the somewhat obscure English Literature titles she was after in New York city.  The book is the continuing correspondence between Helene and the staff at the bookshop, beginning with Frank Doel and growing to include the rest of the bookshop, plus Frank's family.

It's a witty and warm book that draws you in from the very first letter to it's ultimately sad conclusion.  I'm all set to read the next book now, and if you haven't already discovered this brilliant read, then I heartily recommend it to you now.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x


  1. This is one of those books that I discovered through the film made from it - in this case starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft - and, although it's a long while since I read it, I seem to think it's a close adaptation.

    1. Definitely looking out for it to watch x


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